Shipston Christmas community lunch organisers overwhelmed after royal wedding invite

Tessa Hince and Hayley Ash, organisers of Shipston Christmas Community Lunch NNL-181204-120539001
Tessa Hince and Hayley Ash, organisers of Shipston Christmas Community Lunch NNL-181204-120539001

Two women who set up a Christmas lunch for lonely people in Shipston have been overwhelmed with attention after being invited to HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

Tessa Hince and Hayley Ash founded the Shipston Christmas Community Lunch, which caters for people who are lonely or on their own over Christmas.

Tessa Hince and Hayley Ash, organisers of Shipston Christmas Community Lunch NNL-181204-120550001

Tessa Hince and Hayley Ash, organisers of Shipston Christmas Community Lunch NNL-181204-120550001

The 32-year-olds are among 1,200 members of the public invited by Lord Lieutenants to the royal wedding at Windsor Castle on May 19.

“We’re absolutely buzzing, it’s absolutely crazy and we’re so excited, partly from not knowing what to expect,” Tessa told the Banbury Guardian.

“Theresa May hasn’t been invited nor Donald Trump or Barack Obama but two girls from Shipston High School are going, it’s mad.”

They will join 200 guests from organisations which Prince Harry and Ms Markle have a close association with, 100 pupils from two local schools and 500 members of The Royal Household.

They will watch the arrivals of the bride and groom and their wedding guests at the Chapel and will see the carriage procession as it departs from the castle.

Since the announcement was made on Tuesday, the pair have been inundated with media attention with interviews ranging from BBC Coventry and Warwickshire to CNN in the US.

“We’ve had the craziest 24 hours of our lives,” Tessa said.

“Since Kensington Palace released the press release saying we were one of the charities named on the invite list, we’ve spoken to CNN, ABC, even the Lorraine show!

Tessa and Hayley have had little time to think about what they will wear but have been hat shopping, which was apparently ‘like a sweet shop’.

The pair set up the Christmas lunch in 2016 and it has gone from strength to strength with 80 people coming together for a traditional roast at the Townsend Hall last year.